Kitty Harris, 5, and her sister India, 8, lay bouquets of flowers for the late former South African President Nelson Mandela at a wall mural in Cape Town. Reuters
Kitty Harris, 5, and her sister India, 8, lay bouquets of flowers for the late former South African President Nelson Mandela at a wall mural in Cape Town. Reuters

Mandela colleague pays tribute to South Africa’s former president during UAE visit

ABU DHABI // Albie Sachs, who was appointed by Nelson Mandela to South Africa’s Constitutional Court, was visiting Abu Dhabi when he heard the news that the former South African president had died.

“We’ve been waiting for a long time now and, when it came, it was kind of a shock,” said Mr Sachs, a comrade of Mandela’s during the struggle against apartheid.

“Mandela was part of the generation of wonderful African leaders.”

Back in 1952, Mr Sachs, who will speak tonight at the InterContinental Hotel, was a second-year law student and part of the “black movement”, of which Mandela was the volunteering chief.

“He was like my leader,” he said. “He wasn’t well known then but he was very important. He wasn’t just a lawyer who defended people but he defended justice.”

He said Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Desmond Tutu and Mandela made up an important culture in South Africa.

“With four fantastic figures like that, it’s not just brilliant individuals, it’s a culture,” he said.

“Mandela embodied that culture more beautifully than anybody else.

“He didn’t create the process of the new South Africa, he led it. It’s a culture of millions and they articulated it.” Mr Sachs said the struggle against apartheid was one of decades and Mandela emerged as the most outstanding personality in that struggle.

“He provided particularly dignified and refined leadership,” he said.

“He will be remembered as the person who knew when it was right to be a soldier, when it was right to be a negotiator, and when it was right to be a president.

“He was willing to fight, to give his life and his liberty at the same time. He always believed in talking and negotiations and he was a great healer as well as a person who made everybody feel welcome and everybody worth listening to.”

Nahtam, an Abu Dhabi-based humanitarian organisation, was chosen by Mandela through the UN to get people involved in community work.

“It was his wish and we took up the initiative in the UAE,” said George Itty, Nahtam’s chief executive. “We were supposed to meet him six months ago but he got very sick.”

The organisation published a book of inspiring stories to celebrate Mandela’s work two years ago.

“This book has been translated into Arabic,” said Mr Itty. “We were supposed to take it to Mandela but, instead, we will inaugurate it here in Abu Dhabi.”

Mr Sachs’s lecture, Fifty years With Mandela: From Lawbreaker to Lawmaker, is at the InterContinental Hotel from 6.30pm to 8pm.


Family: I have three siblings, one older brother (age 25) and two younger sisters, 20 and 13 

Favourite book: Asking for my favourite book has to be one of the hardest questions. However a current favourite would be Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier

Favourite place to travel to: Any walkable city. I also love nature and wildlife 

What do you love eating or cooking: I’m constantly in the kitchen. Ever since I changed the way I eat I enjoy choosing and creating what goes into my body. However, nothing can top home cooked food from my parents. 

Favorite place to go in the UAE: A quiet beach.


Director: Laxman Utekar

Producer: Maddock Films, Jio Cinema

Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Kriti Sanon​​​​​​​, Pankaj Tripathi, Vinay Pathak, Aparshakti Khurana

Rating: 3/5


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The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

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The bio

Who inspires you?

I am in awe of the remarkable women in the Arab region, both big and small, pushing boundaries and becoming role models for generations. Emily Nasrallah was a writer, journalist, teacher and women’s rights activist

How do you relax?

Yoga relaxes me and helps me relieve tension, especially now when we’re practically chained to laptops and desks. I enjoy learning more about music and the history of famous music bands and genres.

What is favourite book?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - I think I've read it more than 7 times

What is your favourite Arabic film?

Hala2 Lawen (Translation: Where Do We Go Now?) by Nadine Labaki

What is favourite English film?

Mamma Mia

Best piece of advice to someone looking for a career at Google?

If you’re interested in a career at Google, deep dive into the different career paths and pinpoint the space you want to join. When you know your space, you’re likely to identify the skills you need to develop.  


Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Company profile

Name: Tabby
Founded: August 2019; platform went live in February 2020
Founder/CEO: Hosam Arab, co-founder: Daniil Barkalov
Based: Dubai, UAE
Sector: Payments
Size: 40-50 employees
Stage: Series A
Investors: Arbor Ventures, Mubadala Capital, Wamda Capital, STV, Raed Ventures, Global Founders Capital, JIMCO, Global Ventures, Venture Souq, Outliers VC, MSA Capital, HOF and AB Accelerator.

Profile of Tamatem

Date started: March 2013

Founder: Hussam Hammo

Based: Amman, Jordan

Employees: 55

Funding: $6m

Funders: Wamda Capital, Modern Electronics (part of Al Falaisah Group) and North Base Media


Developer: Ubisoft Bordeaux
Publisher: Ubisoft
Consoles: PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox Series S&X
Rating: 3.5/5

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Director: Jesse V Johnson
Stars: Michael Rooker, Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Olga Kurylenko
Rating: 3/5

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